Negest Dawit, a savvy businesswoman from Ethiopia, steered her 1998 Mercedes Benz past a vacant building on 9th Street near downtown Washington, D.C. and gazed into her future.
“I looked at the building and said ‘This will be my store,’” Dawit told Urban News Service.
That was 10 years ago. Today, Dawit — affectionately called TG — owns a cigar store. TG Cigar Lounge is at 1118 9th Street, NW.
But her journey from Ethiopia to entrepreneurship was not easy.
She moved from that East African nation to Canada in 1996 and worked as a housekeeper. That job paid the bills, she said, but not one she wanted for long.
“I only had $50 when I got to Canada,” she said. “My mother gave me the money.” Dawit sat in her modest apartment, talked to her sister, and, during meals, discussed her future.
In 2000, Dawit packed her bags and moved to Washington, D.C. seeking better opportunities. She spent four years at an Ethiopian restaurant on U Street..